Last year, Gene Spafford had a wonderful post on the issue of encouraging women in computer security. Among many great ideas in the post was this nugget:
If you are invited to speak or appear on a panel at an event, ask who else has been invited. If they don’t seem to have invited (m)any women, suggest some and don’t agree to speak until they filled out the roster a little more. I have heard one good rule of thumb (which I try to follow) is not appear on a panel unless at least one woman is also on the panel. Help give other voices a chance to be heard.
Can’t think of any? Then either you aren’t paying attention or you are willfully ignoring the situation. Here’s a partial list of some of the better known women in the field of cybersecurity/privacy, all of whom I hold in great regard (and my apologies as there are many more I could list — these are off the top of my imperfect memory): Anita Jones, Dorothy Denning, Mary Ann Davidson, Window Snyder, Jean Camp, Elisa Bertino, Rhonda MacLean, Deborah Frincke, Melissa Hathaway, Chenxi Wang, Terry Benzel, Cristina Nita-Rotaru, Jeannette Wing, Cynthia Irvine, Lorrie Cranor, Dawn Song, Helen Wang, Cathy Meadows, Harriet Pearson, Diana Burley, Rebecca Herold, Shari Pfleeger, Shafi Goldwasser, Barbara Simons, Erin Jacobs, Becky Bace, Radia Perlman, Nuala O’Connor Kelly, Wendy Nather, Linda Northrup, Angela Sasse, Melissa, Dark, Susan Landau, Mischel Kwon, Phyllis Schneck, Carrie Gates, Katie Moussouris, Ronda Henning…. There are literally thousands more who are less senior but are likely to have interesting things to say. Simply look around. And if you’re organizing the event, consider this.
I’m going to opine the following: We will never have diversity be considered important in the Oscar race until the Oscar nominees have the gumption to, as a group, refuse to accept their nominations unless they are part of a diverse group of nominees. Until that happens, they are just passing the buck, considering diversity to be someone else’s problem.
In *every* category, there is sufficient talent out there to nominate a diverse field of candidates. Not having diversity is a statement about those in charge, who their friends are, and the diversity of the circles they operate in. Working diverse breeds diversity. Writing diverse breeds diversity. The Oscar field not being diverse is a statement, reflection, and indictment of the industry as a whole. The cinema (just like the theater) must reflect and tell the stories of society as a whole. Making that happen takes strength of character and strong resolve, having principles and insisting on them, both in the on-camera talent, the behind the camera crew, and in the stories.
So, I’ll say it again: We will never have diversity be considered important in the Oscar race until the Oscar nominees have the gumption to, as a group, refuse to accept their nominations unless they are part of a diverse group of nominees. Until that happens, they are just passing the buck, considering diversity to be someone else’s problem.